Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bird Photography: Where To Go

The ability to locate birds is critical to successful bird photography. Even more important, however, is to know where to find subjects that are easily photographed.

Birds accustomed to people are typically easier to photograph. Likewise, those that are accustomed to being fed are obviously easier to approach than those that experienced buckshot zooming past them the day before.

Backyards are great places to begin, providing you have a number of strategically placed birds feeders. The Mountain Chickadee image accompanying this post was made as it visited my feeders. I simply opened a window and photographed it as I sat in my easy chair while surrounded by all the comforts of home.

Use different types of feeders. A suet feeder will attract different species than one filled with a mixture of wild bird seed. Similarly, a platform feeder will attract yet another group of birds. A good book on feeding birds will help you determine which feeders attract which birds, as will a talk with those working at your local wild bird store.

City, state, and national parks are great places to photograph birds. Check out picnic areas, where people sometimes leave scraps behind. Some species hangout at frequently visited roadside pullouts where they beg for handouts.

Zoos provide numerous opportunities to photograph wild birds that often share meals with the residents.

I enjoy photographing birds at national wildlife refuges. You may have to work a little harder, but few places can provide the variety and sheer numbers of birdlife. It's always good practice to inform refuge personnel of your intentions. I have found them to be more than eager to share information on the best spots. Don't hesitate to ask questions.

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